10 Spots for Amazing Pastries and Coffee

By Lesley Balla  |  February 26, 2014

It's inevitable that you'll want something sweet or savory to go with that cappuccino or cold-brew. Thankfully many of LA's top coffeehouses take their pastries as seriously as they take their beans. And some of the best bakeries and cafes around town make sure they've got expert baristas pulling the purest third-wave coffees to round out the experience. Here's where you can get the best of both worlds - pastries and coffee - all over town.

  • Credit: Cake Monkey

    Cake Monkey at Various Locations

    When you see the foil-wrapped El Rollos, the infinitely better version of a Ho-Ho, next to red velvet Cakewiches that might remind you of Ding Dongs, beside fruit-filled Pop Pies, luscious oatmeal cream cookies, black sable cookies filled with salted caramel and sweet and savory scones, you know it’s the work of baker Elizabeth Belkind and business partner Lisa Olin. The two might not have their own cafe but they do sell their baked goods to serious coffeehouses like Paper and Plastik, Caffe Vita, Broome Street General Store, Tiago Coffee Bar and more all over town.

    What to drink: All of these shops feature great coffees, so even a regular drip will do.

  • Credit: Republic of Pie

    Pie at Republic of Pie

    Out of all of the things that this North Hollywood cafe has to eat, among the scones, shortbreads, cookies, bars and other sweet delights, there is pie, and a lot of it. Various sweet, savory and seasonal pies grace the pastry cases, which can be ordered by the slice or as a whole pie to-go. Chocolate cream pie, apple, pumpkin, lemon, blueberry, banana cream - you name it, they probably have it.

    What to drink: RoP serves locally roasted Handsome Coffee, and a perfectly pulled espresso or cappuccino is just what you want with a slice.

  • Sugar Bloom Bakery at Stumptown

    Sharon Wang puts an Asian-Pacific spin on all of her baked goods sold at the Sumptown roaster and retail shop in the Arts District. Think: Kimchi and spam musubi, squid ink or pretzel croissants and miso-butterscotch cookies. But she also creates wonderful maple-bacons scones and seasonal specialties like kumquat creamsicle Danish. She has a great pedigree, having helped Thomas Keller open all of his bakeries, including Bouchon in Beverly Hills.

    What to drink: a Stumptown cold-brew from the tap.

  • Credit: Sycamore Kitchen

    Everything at Sycamore Kitchen

    If you can decide between the brown butter and date mini bundts, blueberry oak bars, chocolate banana strudel, almond brioche bostok, sour cherry buttermilk scones, rye chocolate chip cookies, and apple ricotta or quinoa bran muffins, you’re a rockstar. We find all of Karen Hatfield’s pastries completely irresistible at the La Brea Avenue cafe.

    What to drink: Stumptown coffee is the star here and the baristas pull excellent espressos.

  • Milo + Olive at Sweet Rose Creamery

    Since the restaurant and bakery is owned by the same people as the ice cream shop, fresh-baked pastries are brought from one to the other daily. Gluten-free blueberry almond cake, mini quiches, sticky buns, buttery croissants, strawberry-rhubarb turnovers and more all go amazingly well with the Caffe Luxxe espresso and coffee drinks at the two newer locations in Santa Monica and on Beverly Boulevard near The Grove.

    What to drink: a Caffe Luxxe latte all the way, iced or hot.

  • Credit: Proof Bakery

    Proof Bakery at Cognescenti

    Or is it Cognescenti at Proof? It’s both, actually. Yeekai Lim has served his expertly pulled espressos and pourover coffee as a sort of pop-up within the Atwater Village bakery from the day it opened, which means you can get fantastic croissants, scones, cakes, cookies and sandwiches that disappear as soon as they’re placed in the case. And now that Lim has his own Cognescenti spot in Culver City, Proof still supplies the baked goods to go along with his rotating roster of coffees from roasters like Phil and Sebastian, Counter Culture, Wrecking Ball and Ritual.

    What to drink: Lim’s pourovers are kind of magic.

  • Credit: Patina Group

    Pop Tarts and Hand Pies at C+M at LACMA

    The Patina Group’s newer cafe at LACMA is the perfect spot for a coffee and pastry - the ‘c’ and ‘m’ in the name stand for coffee and milk, respectively - especially since there’s Intelligentsia in the cup and things like the seasonal hand pies and pop tarts on the menu. You might find pies filled with blackberries and thyme, or strawberry and rhubarb (the flavors change regularly), or lemon and lavender pop tarts.

    What to Drink: The iced lattes are made with rich Straus organic dairy, so they’re always good. You can even get a shot of Kahlua to make it a bit stronger.

  • Credit: Republique

    Everything at Republique

    One of the best secrets on La Brea right now is that Walter and Margarita Manzke’s white hot French restaurant also serves pastries from the bakery in the morning and Verve coffee in the cup. Margarita’s fresh croissants, pain au chocolate, brownies, muffins, blueberry brioche strudel, chocolate cake, eclairs and crème brulee bombolin are all pretty incredible. You can also get the wonderful baguette with poached eggs on the side.

    What to drink: a Verve cappuccino or latte hits the spot.

  • Credit: Coffee Tomo

    Pretzels at Coffee Tomo

    The hot, made-to-order pretzels served at this Sawtelle coffeeshop are just as serious as the coffee. Just as there are no brew machines, each cup of coffee (the beans are roasted on-site) is hand-dripped per order. The pretzels are unique specimens: large crown-shaped things twisted and stuffed with things like sweet potato puree and cheese. Not your everday muffin, no, but it totally works.

    What to drink: whatever is offered as the pourover choice of the day.

  • Credit: Market on Holly

    Almond Croissants at The Market on Holly

    While the Pasadena caffeine scene is getting more serious by the day, this tucked away cafe is almost like a Joan’s on Third in Old Town, with full breakfast and lunch menus, prepared salads and more. The pastry case is always stocked with delicious banana nut breads, giant rice crispy bars, cookies and more. But the almond croissants are standouts - buttery, flaky and just sweet enough. And with Handsome Coffee and Stumptown offered, you can find a great cuppa (and it's cheaper than Intelligentsia around the corner).

    What to drink: the coffee pumps are filled with fresh drip coffee but the cold-brew is super solid, too.